Sunday, August 7, 2005

Modern science and "intelligent design" and creationism .vs. evolutionary science

Apparently GW Bush threw his hat into the "Intelligent Design" camp. I've been seeing some news articles saying so, though I haven't bothered to track this down.

Intelligent Design goes against a couple hundred years of scientism becoming the Way We Think about the world. In our schools and everywhere Science is The Accepted Way of reasoning, and Science is what's led us from the dark ages of superstition to this gleaming modern age of wonders.

In case that paragraph was too subtle, let me say that I think Science is as much a Religion as Christianity is. Science demands an adherence to certain beliefs which seem reasonable and rational. We certainly can't argue with the technological success that has arisen from the practice of Science. However, in my view over dependance on the Scientific Method leads one to being an incomplete human. In my view practice of the divine is just as important as practice of the mind.

However I don't know enough about the "Intelligent Design" camp to know whether they are in agreement with my view of "evolution", which I'll get to in a minute. The "Intelligent Design" camp seems to be home to the type of fundamentalist Christians who want to drive the U.S. into a narrow hateful mindset. They seem to be as much politically motivated as spiritually motivated, and in any case the Christian beliefs they profess are easily seen to be the result of 2 millenia of political manipulation. Jesus surely brought us a good set of teachings, but it's clear that from the Roman Emporarer Constantine on forwards, that Christianity has manipulated and twisted those teachings for political purposes.

It's clear from the wikipedia article that the "intelligent design movement" is politically motivated, designed to get certain teachings of christianity inserted into school curriculum. This is part of the overall narrow minded fundamentalist christian movement that has basically taken over the U.S. government through electing representatives who espouse these narrow minded views of the world.

The wikipedia article above identifies The Center for Science and Culture (web site) as the main proponents of the "intelligent design movement". On the CSC entry they describe a 20 year agenda of

  • To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
  • To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
  • To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

And that they would supplant theories such as evolution with their theory of intelligent design. To do so the current effort is to establish the right to "teach the controversy", pointing out the rights of academic freedom inherent with being a teacher, and that it's short-sighted to place so much weight on one theory since theories come and go. Why is Darwinism given so much credence over other theories? That's the question they're trying to establish today as teaching material in schools.

However, remember what their long term goals are. Aren't those long term goals just as closed minded as todays dominance of Darwinism keeping out all other theories?

The questions still remain. How did we get here? Why does this universe exist the way it is?

In the wikipedia articles they make distinctions between two points of view:

  • On the one hand you have scientists, with their scientific method in hand, trouncing out superstitious beliefs. The scientists have been at this for a few hundred years, e.g. Copernicus and his theories of Astronomy.
  • On the other hand you have the proponents of intelligent design. They wear their christianity on their sleeves, and claim: Intelligent Design movement proponents allege that science, by relying upon methodological naturalism, demands an a priori adoption of a naturalistic philosophy that dismisses out of hand any explanation that contains a supernatural cause.

In my view both sides of this debate are bonkers, and there is yet another view to consider that neither are talking about.

Where I'm pointing at is some views in quantum physics. These views correlate with experiences I have as a spiritual healer. I know these views as written by Dr. Amit Goshwari, but I believe other scientists work with the same views. They are discussed in these books:

His contention is that the basis of physical matter is intention and consciousness which causes the quantum probability wave to collapse into matter. The consciousness is intermingled with every particle of everything in the universe. This consciousness is what created the universe.

That sounds like God to me. A much more rationally described God than the one of the Christian Bible.

To make it clear, what I understand from the reading and the experiences I have is this: everything in the universe is part of a whole. This "whole" is the wholeness of everything in the universe. Our belief that things in the universe are separate is an accident of the limited perception we humans have. And if this sounds like Buddhist doctrine, that's not exactly an accident. I did arrive at this view without becoming a practicing Buddhist.

However an interesting thought has come while researching this article. Consider this statement on the wikipedia pages:

Critics point out that the principle of naturalism (i.e. materialism) allows falsifiability and that supernaturalism is unfalsifiable, meaning any suggested policies or curicula put forth by the center that rest on supernatural suppositions are by definition pseudoscience, not science.

This gets back to the two points of view I described earlier. To understand this, we first need to understand the term falsifiability. If you're like me, that's too long a word to make sense of.

Falsifiability is an important concept in the philosophy of science that amounts to the apparently paradoxical idea that a proposition or theory cannot be scientific if it does not admit consideration of the possibility of its being false.

Okay, this helps me understand the previous point. In scientism the adherents believe, I suppose, that you can only propose theories. Theories are your best guess at the moment, and may well be false. By admitting the theories may well be false, that makes the theory falsifiable.

They suggest that any theory rooted in a supernatural power (and, they're getting to define what powers are super-natural) is inherently unfalsifiabile. That is, you can claim the super-natural entity can do anything, so therefore you could propose any old random theory and thereby say the super-natural entity is capable of performing whatever the theory says.

I seem to see a conclusion to this article now. And it is to draw a distinction between the Christians, and this proposed Intelligent Design concept, and the view I see in my spiritual background and the new physics such as taught by Dr. Goshwari.

I'm reminded of a quote from Albert Einstein which was in effect "I'm trying to understand the mind of God".

That is, I propose there is a consciousness which created and designed this universe. Under that proposition the phrase "Intelligent Design" is a great label to use to describe my viewpoint, but actually I am not going to accept that label. The reason is the approach to understanding the nature of the intelligent designer.

Thinking about Christianity, and the tone of the presentation on the The Center for Science and Culture web site. They are confident that they know the nature of God, and that their God is the one who wrote the Bible, that their God led Moses to the promised land, that their God told the various Kings of Israel to smash thine enemies, etc. In other words it's a very predetermined view of who and what God is.

I think about the makeup of the Universe, and I think about the consciousness that is interwoven with every particle in the Universe, that designed every particle, every atom, every cell, every butterfly, and every galaxy, and I think .. what an awesome creature. How can you bind such an awesome consciousness into a little book and say that's all God is. I am like Einstein, I am experimenting with the universe, and I am attempting to learn the nature of the mind of God. I am not predetermining what the nature of the mind of God is, I am observing and learning.